My First Meetup: Are Twitter RTs and Facebook likes valuable?

Oct 19

Although I’ve blogged and used Twitter for 18 months now, I’ve never been to a social media meetup. A good friend told me about The London Blog Club, which holds monthly meetups for bloggers and has free wine and nibbles – so I was there.

Held in the Talk Talk Customer Experience centre in Soho, tonight’s meetup was about getting more comments on your blog posts. The talk was lead by Scott Gould‘a writer, speaker and noted leader on the changing nature of communication’ and co-founder of Like Minds.

The main objective, he said, is to ‘co-create’ on your blog and invite comments through asking questions. Don’t treat it as a platform to broadcast your ideas, appearing like a know-it-all who has nothing more to learn. Encourage discussion and follow up comments to create relationships with your readers.

All great stuff, but after digesting what he’d said and speaking to other blogger attendees, many felt his approach to what makes a good blog was rather single minded.

Blogs are set up for different reasons and bloggers want different kinds of reaction and input from their target audience depending on the type of blog. A hyper local blog may want to act as a platform for residents to talk directly to their councillors about local issues, whereas a student designer’s blog may be more of a portfolio of work to impress prospective employers.

Scott also commented on Facebook likes and Twitter Retweets as irrelevant in terms of discussion within your online community. I disagree here, in that the power of social media to reach a lot of people in a short time is a great tool for any promoter. Plus, although liking something on Facebook only takes a second – it is still a valid and valuable strategy to build up relationships in your online community.

Lets put one of Scott’s suggestions into practice right here —–> Do you see Facebook likes and Twitter Retweets as valuable feedback from your readers? Or does it mean nothing to you?

Unfortunately I did speak to a few ‘bloggers’ who were there just to push an idea or pick up people to contribute to their own websites and not there to get to know someone from a different blogging background to themselves- which is why I was.

Luckily I did meet some interesting people, including business coach and entrepreneur Claire Boyles (@claireboyles) who gave me some tips, as a newbie, for future meetups:

  • DON’T trust people when they say they’ll email, they won’t
  • DO get their details and contact them
  • DON’T ‘work the room’ – social networking events are social events not schmoozy business events$
  • DO just have a chat and get to know people on a personal level
  • DON’T thrust your business card on people
  • DO wait for them to ask for your card
  • DO always follow up new contacts with an email

Thanks Claire!

The next London Blog Club Meetup is on Monday 22nd November.

11 comments

  1. Great post!

    …no, I’m kidding, but seriously, I think you’ve put your thoughts about this evening’s event down in a very thoughtful way. I, too, disagreed with Scott and his attitude towards social networking/garnering comments (as you full well know) and I think it was a little one-track minded. As for Facebook “Likes” or Twitter RTs, well, this is what I know:

    1. It feels nice when somebody “Likes” you or RTs, as it shows a certain level of engagement, even if it’s not “direct engagement”. They like you enough that they want to know when you update, or see what you do on a regular basis.

    2. Sometimes it’s a blind RT/”Like” because you know that person on a level above social networking, maybe they’re a friend who’s trying to support you without really engaging in what you’re doing, but sometimes that’s still helpful – they’re spreading the word about you that may appeal to another person and bring you an active follower/commenter/”fan” (I use this word very loosely).

    3. Yes, Facebook & Twitter should be taken with a grain of salt, but then shouldn’t all social media? Even blogging itself is an interesting concept: putting your thoughts in a public forum, encouraging others to share their ideas on what YOU think/have to say. You know that saying, right? “Opinions are like assholes…” etc.

    So I guess in answer to your question I see the both just as important as each other. Obviously feedback is nice, but the fact that you’re even being read is always a great start. And I actually think Twitter is a great way to begin to get to know people – it’s short, it’s sharp and you’re engaging with individuals without getting to the creepy personal levels. Unless, of course, that’s your thing…

    This is a long comment… great post? :P

    Jax x

    • Thanks for your thought Jackie – great comment!

      I’m with you with RTing and liking – if anything it just feels good to see that someone is engaged enough with what you are saying to send it out to all their followers and friends. I see a lot of interesting stuff indirectly via RTs from people I follow – which I wouldn’t if it wasn’t for RTs and likes.

      Any promotion of your blog is good promotion and if people stop and take the time to comment then that it is a bonus! I will try and include more questions in my posts and underbake issues to encourage interaction – whether this be RTs, likes of comments.

      With you on Twitter too – it’s 140 characters for a reason! Short, sharp injections of info/opinions.

      Lets search out our next meetup x

      • Hey Lucy, et al

        Great discussion here. Sorry I’m late to it!

        Might be worth pointing out first of all that I what I talked on was about “How to get a dozen comments” – NOT what makes a great blog.

        So Lucy, when you say “many felt his approach to what makes a good blog was rather single minded” – this wasn’t my approach to what makes a great blog – it was my approach to how to get a dozen comments on a blog. So of course it was single minded – designed to answer the question!

        So if you want to get more comments, the approach I shared works, and if you want comments, blind RTS (where people just click ‘retweet’) aren’t valuable.

        BUT if you want to build your blog in other ways, RTs are useful. They do increase your traffic, they do increase subscribers, but they rarely increase comments. Example: I had one of the most retweeted posts on the Nestle issue earlier this year. My traffic went through the roof – BUT – I only got comments from my regular community.

        I would also still argue that long term benefit does not come volume of retweets, but from social authority – but that’s another talk altogether!

        Glad to see that “Great post” is taking on a life of it’s own :-)

        Best,
        Scott

  2. Hi Lucy,

    Didn’t get to meet you unfortunately but I hope you enjoyed the event.

    For me retweets, Facebook likes, Stumbleupon shares etc are very valuable as they spread the word about my blog to new people and extend my reach. But Scott has different motives, he is more into building one on one relationships so that is where comments / Skype calls count much more compared to someone like me who mostly focuses on number of visitors. Anyway it is always nice to hear how other people do things so I hope you have learned something.

    Hope we see you at the next London Blog Club. I’ll make sure to say “Hi”.

    Best regards,
    Marko

  3. By the way, go to http://en.gravatar.com/ and create an account with the email address you’re using on the blog. Then your avatar will be shown on any comments area on any WordPress blog (including your own). Now you just have a blank picture.

    • Thanks for the gravatar link – i’ll get on that tonight. Also thanks for your comments – it is good to know others were thinking the same as me.

      Blogs are set up for different reasons and bloggers want different kinds of feedback – which I think Scott ignored.

      I can’t make the next Meetup in November as I’m going to the Newspepper relaunch on the HMS President. Know anyone going? @hermioneway has promised a who’s who of tech/web guestlist and drinks are sponsored by thenextweb. Tickets still available here: http://newspepperrelaunch.eventbrite.com/

      Hopefully talk at a future meetup.

      Lucy x

  4. Unfortunately, I wasn’t at London Blog Club last night to hear what Scott had to say but in answer to your question: I think RTs and Likes are valuable feedback for the reasons pointed out in your post and Jackie’s comments above.

    Community engagement should be encouraged on all levels to suit all people. Plus, you have to consider your audience and their preferences. And well…if it hadn’t been for an RT, I would not be here! :)

  5. Facebook likes and RT’s ARE comments:

    1) literally if you use a plug in that adds them to your blog (see how sites like mashable get “100′s” of comments, that are actually just RT’s..)

    2) in the way that they show discussion, promote sharing and discovery of ideas.

    What greater comment is there on a blog, than the simple one which says I thought this of sufficient interest to forward on to others?

  6. Great roundup. I think it comes down to the metric as Scott mentioned. All of these networks are tools and its up to us how we use them, measure them and how they contribute to our blogging aims.

    Some very useful tips on how to follow up on meetups too.

  7. So we’re all in agreement then —>

    RTs and Likes are most definitely VALUABLE feedback

    AND

    Blogs and their respective bloggers are individual and specific – with their own aims and ways of encouraging interaction from their readers, in whatever form that may be.

    Great posts guys…. :)

    Lucy x

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